Testing for the deadly coronavirus is to be carried out in Scotland now after new facilities were set up to carry out the work.
Up until now, all samples taken from people in Scotland suspected of having the disease have had to be sent south of the border for testing.
Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, said having the new testing facilities in Glasgow and Edinburgh would greatly reduce the time it takes for results.
But while laboratories at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh will carry out the work, if someone does test positive for the disease a confirmatory test will be carried out at Public Health England’s Colindale laboratory in London.
Dr Calderwood said while there have not been any confirmed cases of the virus in Scotland, there is a “high likelihood” that a patient will test positive for the disease at some point.
So far four people in the UK have been confirmed as having contracted the disease, while a British man in Majorca has also tested positive for coronavirus.
Meanwhile, 41 people have been tested in Scotland, with all checks for the disease so far negative.
Dr Calderwood said: “Ever since the beginning of this global outbreak we have been working hard to develop a testing facility within Scotland. I am pleased that we will now have two Scottish facilities, greatly reducing the time it takes to confirm negative results.”
She added: “Although all Scottish tests have so far been negative, we are prepared for the high likelihood that we will also see a positive case in Scotland.
“Our NHS is well equipped to deal with infections of this kind. We have a proven track record of dealing with challenging health issues, and have been preparing for this possibility since the beginning of the outbreak.”
In China, where the outbreak began, the death toll from the virus has risen to more than 800.
On Sunday, another plane carrying British citizens evacuated from the coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan landed in Oxfordshire.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it was the second and final flight to be chartered by the Government and had British Government staff and military medics on board.